Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians - Nowhere to Run? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians - Nowhere to Run?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Towards a "Third Intifada"?

Read more

FOCUS

What solutions for California's overcrowded prisons?

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Gaza conflict: Palestinians mark sombre Eid

Read more

WEB NEWS

Celebrities in the Israel-Gaza crossfire

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Israeli strike takes out Gaza power station

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French newspaper apologises for Sarkozy story

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Last-ditch talks aim to avert Argentina default

Read more

  • Deadly strike hits Gaza market despite four-hour 'truce'

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

  • Argentina fails to reach deal with holdout creditors

    Read more

  • US House votes to sue Obama for over-reaching his powers

    Read more

  • Suspect in Jewish Museum attack charged with 'terrorist' murder

    Read more

  • Women should not laugh in public, Turkey's deputy PM says

    Read more

  • Fourth female suicide bomber targets Nigerian city

    Read more

  • US rebounds to 4% growth in second quarter

    Read more

  • Video: Coping with rocket attacks in Israel’s Sderot

    Read more

  • Rats on the rampage at Louvre museum gardens

    Read more

  • France evacuates nationals, closes embassy in Libya

    Read more

  • 'Compelling' signs Kosovo leaders trafficked organs, prosecutor says

    Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Islamists seize key Benghazi army base as fire rages on

    Read more

France

French sceptical as Hollande points to economic recovery

© AFP

Text by Sam Ball

Latest update : 2013-07-16

François Hollande’s claim in an interview on Sunday that France is on the verge of economic recovery has been met with a heavy dose of scepticism from the country’s press and the President's political rivals.

For a country that has just officially entered into a triple-dip recession, it was a claim that was always going to raise a few eyebrows. During an interview with French television on Sunday - the French national holiday of Bastille Day - President François Hollande announced to the country that, finally, “The economic recovery is here”.

As proof, he pointed to an increase in industrial production as well as a small uptick in consumption in recent months.

However, weighed against negative growth in the first quarter of the year and record high numbers of unemployed - 3.26 million at last count - the President’s remarks have been met with a mixture of scepticism and even ridicule from his political rivals and in the French press.

During his interview, Hollande talked about combating his nation's apparent love of pessimism with a message of hope and optimism. But it seems that the general feeling in France is that the President is simply in denial.

‘Totally against intuition’

French daily Le Figaro suggested Hollande has chosen to adopt the ‘Coué method’ - a self-improvement technique named after French psychologist Emile Coué and based on the belief that constant repetition of optimistic thoughts can lead to tangible benefits.

“In reassuring us that the ‘recovery is here’, the head of state wants to convince us that the French economy is doing better,” said the newspaper’s Jacques-Olivier Martin.

“However, business leaders, economists, and generally all the French are struggling to believe.”

Le Monde also took issue with Hollande’s seemingly unwarranted optimism, describing his approach as “risky” and “totally against intuition”.

“Such a surge of optimism goes against what the French people experience in their lives on a daily basis,” said the newspaper. “It can only confirm their suspicions in regards to the President … that someone is not telling the truth.”

Hollande ‘denying economic reality’

The President’s political rivals have also been quick to pile on the scorn, seeking to do further damage to Hollande’s approval ratings, already at record lows.

Valérie Debord, a member of the right-wing UMP party, accused the President of “denying both the economic and social reality of France” by proclaiming the arrival of the economic recovery.

The far-left Parti de Gauche, meanwhile, said that Hollande must have been “blinded by the Parisian sun” when he made his Bastille Day remarks.

However, while few in the country seem to be in agreement with Hollande, there is, at least some acknowledgement that though a recovery is still far away, there are some signs of improvement, with France’s economy forecast to return to modest growth in the second quarter of the year.

“What the President says is true, the economic indicators are getting better," conceded Le Monde in another editorial on the subject on Tuesday.  But it added: "But it's a bet, because the French economy is far from saved."

Date created : 2013-07-16

  • FRANCE

    Hollande says economic recovery underway

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Fitch downgrades France from top AAA credit rating

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    French consumer confidence plummets

    Read more

COMMENT(S)